Joint stiffness is a hallmark of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a chronic disease that affects 1.3 million adults in the United States. Resulting from an abnormal response of the immune system, rheumatoid arthritis inflames the soft tissue that lines the surface of joints called as the synovium. It is a systemic disease that not only makes joints stiff and painful, but can also affect other parts of your body, such as internal organs.
How well you can move an arm, leg, or finger in different directions reflects the joint’s range of motion. If you develop joint stiffness, your range of motion is reduced. Your joint doesn’t move as well as it once did. Joint stiffness may occur with or without joint pain. Other signs and symptoms in addition to the joint stiffness will help your doctor figure out what kind of arthritis you have.
Preventing further stiff-causing injuries should be high on your list. Taking adequate rest and icing the stiff joint if necessary are the minimum you can do. Icing the area for about ten minutes several times a day reduces inflammation. Inflammation causes injuries to take longer to repair themselves. Ibuprofen or other over-the-counter anti-inflammatory products are safe to use for several days at a time. Be careful not to exceed the daily dose, and don’t drink alcohol while taking them as this could lead to internal bleeding.
For prevention of stiffness and to strengthen joints, glucosamine and chondroitin supplements have been found to work by numerous studies, including one by the University of Utah School of Medicine that found that glucosamine combined with chondroitin sulfate provided statistically significant pain relief as compared with a placebo.
EFAs, or Essential fatty acids, help supply joints with the nutrients they need to stay lubricated and functioning well. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center in several articles reviewing the research in this area conclude that omega-3 fatty acid supplements reduce tenderness in joints and decrease morning stiffness.
Aside from anti-inflammatory medicines, Epsom salt wraps and soaks can help alleviate the pain of a stiff joint. Soak a small towel in hot water mixed with one-half cup Epsom salt and apply it to the affected joint. If you prefer to take a bath and soak your entire body, put two or more cups of Epsom salt in hot water. Doing gentle exercise in a cool pool will also bring temporary relief of joint stiffness.
You can also have a full body massage at our Center. Do you know that massage helps to free adhesions, break down scar tissue and decrease inflammation which may result to restore range of motion to stiff joints? Yes, stiff joints can be prevented with a massage! Visit us for a soothing relief right now.